Oversight of legality safeguards the quality of authorities’ activities

Ministries are responsible for ensuring that the administration within their own sectors functions appropriately. All exercise of public powers must be based on the law, and the law must be strictly observed in all public activity. Laid down in the Constitution, the public administration’s duty to comply with the law requires that the legality of the public authorities’ activities be overseen in practice.

Departments of the Ministry of the Interior oversee the legality of activities within their own areas of responsibility

At the Ministry of the Interior, the oversight of legality is organised in such a manner that the Police Department, the Department for Rescue Services, the Border Guard Department, the Migration Department and the International Affairs Unit engage in the oversight of legality in their own areas of responsibility. Agencies within the Ministry’s branch of government bear the main responsibility for practical oversight activities and the handling of matters related to the oversight of legality.

The Administration and Development Department is responsible for the general development of the oversight of legality at the Ministry and within its branch of government and, where needed, supports other departments and units in tasks related to the oversight of legality.

The oversight of legality comprises the following measures in practice:

  • handling of administrative complaints and citizens’ letters submitted to the authority
  • investigations launched on the authority’s own initiative
  • monitoring of the processing of personal data
  • inspections
  • reporting on matters related to the oversight of legality

The Ministry of the Interior draws up an annual report on the oversight of legality at the Ministry and its branch of government. The report in Finnish is published on the Ministry’s website.

Guidelines for the oversight of legality in the Ministry of the Interior’s branch of government

The Ministry of the Interior has issued guidelines for the oversight of legality, which are applicable to its entire branch of government. The guidelines must be followed when monitoring the oversight of legality, reporting on oversight, and conducting the related inspections.

The guidelines provide information on the handling of administrative complaints and claims for damages, on the publicity of documents and responses to requests for information, and on the legal protection of the persons and bodies subject to oversight. The guidelines also define the organisation and contents of the oversight of legality at the Ministry of the Interior and its branch of government.

A permanent working group for the development of the oversight of legality has been established at the Ministry of the Interior. The working group consists of representatives from the Ministry’s departments, units and the following agencies within the Ministry’s branch of government: the National Police Board, the Finnish Border Guard, the Emergency Response Centre Administration, the Finnish Immigration Service, and the Finnish Security Intelligence Service.

The supreme overseers of legality monitor activities in the Ministry of the Interior’s branch of government

The Parliamentary Ombudsman and the Chancellor of Justice oversee operations within the Ministry of the Interior’s branch of government. As part of such oversight, the Ministry and its agencies must regularly submit reports and statements to the supreme overseers of legality. Decisions taken by the supreme overseers of legality are also followed closely within the Ministry.